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johnastovall

"A Reviewer's Responsibility" Michael Reichmann reflection on his M8 Review

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Vic, plz start posting in a normal written form, or STOPPPPP. It's horrible to read and freaking borring.

 

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alan ????...... what 6x9 format.... i have old voigtlander 6x9 films from dad and grand dad....

 

It was my dear Voigtlander. A Bessa II as a matter of fact. The best camera I ever used for architecture. What, you have a problem with me using this now?

 

Here's one of my interior shots with it: You could never get a picture like this with a digital:

 

http://goldsteinphoto.com/lighting3.jpg

 

And here's another:

 

http://goldsteinphoto.com/miami.jpg

 

This is a 100% crop:

 

http://goldsteinphoto.com/miamicrop.jpg

 

 

 

Yeah I know they suck and you can do much better. But I only went to 2 photos schools and didn't pay attention I guess. Some day I'll be able to afford a modern 6x9, some good lenses and a better scanner.

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Vic,

 

You asked: "what is M8 for you, sean?"

 

For me, and for my work, the M8 is best digital camera I've ever worked with and one of the best cameras I've ever used. That "for me" qualifier is important. I'm a photographer for whom the traditional rangefinder camera is still a very useful tool - very much a relevant and functional design in 2007. And while the M8 is really a computer in a camera body, it functions for me in much the same way that my film RF cameras did. For my work, that's extremely important. Central to the camera, for my use, is the viewfinder - that window with frame lines and infinite depth of field. I prefer it to all other kinds of finders and the finder for me is where I work out the second phase of my pictures (the first is done before the camera comes up to my eye). Beyond that, I like the rangefinder method of focus, the shutter speed dial and the aperture ring. I like the M8's compact camera body and the very compact, metal, lenses that I use with it.

 

I also love the way the M8 draws a picture. To my eyes, it really does draw much like a medium format film camera. More specifically, it makes the sort of "negatives" that I used to need medium format cameras for. At one point, I worked with a series of Fuji MF rangefinder cameras which have been nicknamed "Texas Leicas". To my eye, the M8 is the digital "Texas Leica". At lower ISO levels, it gives me a "negative" that provides me with much the same information and detail that I got from the Fujis. At higher ISO levels, the M8 draws more like a small format film camera - a little rougher, a little sketchier, a little more impressionistic.

 

Before the M8, my favorite camera was the Epson R-D1 and I used two of those very extensively from 2004-2006. Sometimes a rangefinder camera isn't the best tool for the job (again, for my purposes) and then I used Canon DSLRs.

 

I'm not sure that anyone has ever suggested that the M8 is the best camera for everyone. Certainly, I never suggested that. But for some photographers, such as myself, its been long-awaited. One thing that I've always tried to make clear in my writing is that no one camera or lens is best for everyone. That said, I do believe in 'live and let live" with respect to this choice. People should use whatever works for them and whatever makes them happy. The M8 is not a toy for me but if it is a much-loved toy for some that's quite fine with me. Some people are interested in cameras themselves as a hobby (as opposed to photography per se). And if that is a hobby that helps them to relax and be happy then I'm all for it. It's not the place of person A to tell person B what his or her priorities should be, what he or she should value, etc. The M8, like any camera, can be enjoyed for a number of reasons. It also can be and should be ignored by those for whom it holds no appeal.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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I don't like the idea of suppressing threads, as a matter of principle.

Someone has made the very sensible suggestion already that people who don't want to read this don't need to.

Having said that, I think it is unfortunate that we've gotten so far away from original thrust of the thread, which was never, mind you, flog the reviewer.

Michael Reichmann published an online essay under the title A Reviewer's Responsibility, which not coincidentally is the title of this thread.

I assumed when I weighed in here that that's what we would be discussing.

The failure to do so is as much the fault of certain of Michael's defenders and M8 cheerleaders as it is the fault of people who have tried to drag Sean Reid out onto the carpet and flay him over comparisons with medium format.

All of these distracting arguments and the accompanying histrionics have prevented us from ever even approaching clarity on what strikes me as the critical question here: should a reviewer take guidance from a manufacturer on editorial decisions involving a product review? Is this right? Is this ethical? It's really as simple as that.

 

hf

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It's incredible that this pointless thread continues to accumulate detritus! (And, of course, here am giving it a shot, too.)

 

By way of contrast Rob Galbraith's current review of the new Canon 1D Mark III's auto-focus problems is an example of the correct way to reveal a new camera's problems. He was fair but sometimes painfully forthcoming concerning the problem he observed. There are also many more dollars/euros/rubles/etc. on the line here than an M8 review.

 

I wish that one -- just one -- of the early M8 "reviewers" had the brass and maturity of ego to do such a job. Just one.

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Upon reading it I had the exact same feeling, Ken.

It's a real model of what consumers of this kind of information hope for, and very opposite of the Reichmann approach to the M8, which would have been to contact Canon and have them say, "we're still sorting that out. Best not mention if for now." And to have MR reply: "Fair enough. OK."

hf

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"I wish that one -- just one -- of the early M8 "reviewers" had the brass and maturity of ego to do such a job."

 

With these sorts of personal attacks, is it any wonder that this has not been a productive thread? "Brass" and "maturity of ego" have nothing to do with this, they're just cheap slings. Ken is suggesting that all of the early M8 reviewers saw problems but didn't write about them, which of course is not correct. If this thread ends up being shut down, its posts like Ken's that will likely have triggered it.

I tried to bring this thread into some kind of constructive direction but two posts later we're back in the sand box again. If this is the level of discussion this thread is destined for then I support having it shut down.

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Havent they fixed it though? Anyway Leica knew about it before MR and any of the beta testers found or missed it. This thread is stale milk.

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By way of contrast Rob Galbraith's current review of the new Canon 1D Mark III's auto-focus problems is an example of the correct way to reveal a new camera's problems. He was fair but sometimes painfully forthcoming concerning the problem he observed.

Yea but look at the level of criticism and the sort of images he is expecting. Shame no one gave him on M8. Or did they?

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Guest stnami

.... ............. nobody is asking anyone to post, defending is one's choice or if it is a lot of crap then ignore.......demanding a shutdown only makes things look worse

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I believe that most part of the ongoing drama belongs to a failed marketing campaign to promote the M8 prior to official launch.

 

Despite the issues regarding IR, stripes, green blobs ... etc. putting up a review and making recommendations based on a beta product is generally not good because you know there're bound to be changes...

 

So be the first doing it, 3 minutes Internet fame and then you take all this heat ... absolutely not worth it.

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first of all to alan...

oh man.. of course i have no problems with voigtlander.. in fact.. i think this is one of the sexiest cameras ever made, not only as tool but as the megical "look" that it gives to the photograph.

i was speacking about my grand dads viogtlander.. probably, it was a pre-war (ww2) model.... not sure though, the thing disaapeared in russia or georgia when the family moved to israel.... the prints and the very few films i have from that one are megical things....

saw your pics... cool.... not sure if interent file is the place to show the real beauty of voigtlander photos, but i can imagibe how it may look in real quality analog print

)

yours seems to be much latter model indeed, which might not be as todays big/medium format systems, but they still have comparable technical quality not to mention the aesthetic charm they produce on the pic...

i wish i could find some old old voigtlander in fully working condition (to really make pics with it). maybe one day....

 

 

-------------------------------

 

 

sean........ to me toooo...... m camera is probably my most beloved thing.

you dont answer my other questions..

i rised arguments and you simply dont answer them...

 

"live and let live" - sounds great.. i know and i believe in it myself... but it is not me who aggitates against film, it is not me who compared, it is not me who misleads.. it is not me who feeds nonesenses.... no, dont take it personal, it is not you too, at most you fall in this stream and your words can eassily feed those TOY BOYS and alike, even if you dont mean to it, and even if for you the m8 is not a toy (and im sure it is not)...

 

 

----------------------------

 

 

bushing at leica m8........ what are you childish paranoids??????? who is bashing????

)

 

 

--------------------------------

 

 

hofrench.....

i think i answer your questions and even more....... very clearly actually.. you want me to sum up .. those will not be nice santances as you can imagine..

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sean........ to me toooo...... m camera is probably my most beloved thing.

you dont answer my other questions..

i rised arguments and you simply dont answer them... .

 

What were the other questions? I read your post and know that you tend to write in a "stream of consciousness" style, which is fine by me, but I'm not sure what the other questions (as opposed to statements, observations, etc.) are. Some of what you've expressed relates to your taste and preferences, which we all have, but I'm not sure what questions are implied in those expressions. Maybe list them as 1), 2), 3) etc.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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All of these distracting arguments and the accompanying histrionics have prevented us from ever even approaching clarity on what strikes me as the critical question here: should a reviewer take guidance from a manufacturer on editorial decisions involving a product review? Is this right? Is this ethical? It's really as simple as that.

 

hf

 

Sean, This, actually, is an outstanding question, and real one. I'd be happy to end my own participation in this thread if we could get it answered. This is not aimed just at you, btw, and under no circumstances is it posed with malice. Since you've participated so far, though, and you're the only reviewer that I know of who has, your voice is as good a place as any to start.

hf

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I'm having a similar problem with this thread. I'm not sure what the topic of discussion is anymore. Whatever it is, I have the feeling, if this same discussion were held in a pub, we'd be having this same argument and buying each other a round of drinks.

 

Language more often than not translates poorly in forums and emails especially when there is an emotional investment in the argument--(tone and inflection just does not translate in posts and emails) --and with each succeeding reply it gets worse and worse In a bar, we'd be screaming at each other and laughing hysterically.

 

Surpressing the thread doesn't make sense - not on this forum- it's not like anybody is dead yet. Why don't we all have a few virtual pints on tap, laugh it off and start over.

 

I'll buy the first three rounds.

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Howard asked: "Should a reviewer take guidance from a manufacturer on editorial decisions involving a product review? Is this right? Is this ethical?"

 

No, I do not believe that a reviewer should take guidance from a manufacturer on editorial decisions. It's not my place to speak for Michael but I think he makes his own decisions about his articles. I don't think they're made by manufacturers at all. Beyond that point, it is (again) not my place to speak for Michael.

 

Sean

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Howard asked: "Should a reviewer take guidance from a manufacturer on editorial decisions involving a product review? Is this right? Is this ethical?"

 

No, I do not believe that a reviewer should not take guidance from a manufacturer on editorial decisions. It's not my place to speak for Michael but I think he makes his own decisions about his articles. I don't think they're made by manufacturers at all. Beyond that point, it is (again) not my place to speak for Michael.

 

Sean

 

 

 

 

I don't think so either.

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No, I do not believe that a reviewer should not take guidance from a manufacturer on editorial decisions.

 

Sean, I'm not certain this sentence says what you mean---does it have an extra "not"?

 

It's hard to write an unambiguous sentence with a "No" and two "not"s. Even before msync has everyone well lubricated.

 

Cheers,

 

--clyde

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